Useful information for volunteers

Useful information for volunteers

Credit: Roger Ratcliffe

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a volunteer?

The term volunteer means slightly different things to different people. At Yorkshire Wildlife Trust we mean any person who freely chooses to carry out a task or role that we have specifically agreed for them to do, which contributes to the aims & objectives of the Trust and for which they do not receive any financial or material reward.

What do volunteers do?

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust volunteers do a range of roles, from serving cake in our cafes, counting butterflies in our meadows, pulling up invasive plants on our nature reserves, checking on our cows, teaching children a lifelong love of flowers, showing visitors where to get great views of grass snakes, raising money to buy new tools and pond dipping nets and so much more.

Who can volunteer?

We have volunteers of all ages and abilities from five year olds planting seeds to 85 year olds identifying trees. Our volunteers are from all over Yorkshire (and sometimes beyond) and they come from all walks of life, bringing a variety of skills and experience. If you are interested in wildlife, helping people or the great outdoors we probably have something for you.

Do volunteers have to be members?

Some people give donations of money or join YWT as members; some people offer their time as volunteers. Whichever you do, we are extremely grateful. Being a member of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust does have additional benefits including free access to  some nature reserves and a quarterly member’s magazine. More information on membership.

Do you need prior experience to become a volunteer?

No. We encourage people from all walks of life, with a variety of life experiences to become involved. Some roles require specific skills or experience but most allow you to learn as you go along, sometimes after receiving appropriate training. You will always be fully briefed about your role and the tasks you will be involved in. We will make training available as and when it is needed by a volunteer in order for them to undertake their role or enhance their skills relevant to their volunteering.

What if I am in receipt of state benefits?

You can still volunteer. There is no type of state benefit that automatically stops you from volunteering but we’d suggest you speak to your Job Centre about volunteering first.

What about young volunteers?

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust encourages volunteers of all ages as long as they are able to take part safely. For young people under 16 we will require parents or guardians to supervise them. Young people aged 16 or 17 can volunteer without the need for an accompanying adult but we would require parental consent (a signed form) for this to happen.

Can volunteers claim expenses?

Volunteer travel expenses are available when the cost of attending would otherwise mean that people could not volunteer with us. We will provide expenses for travel up to 10 miles from the place of volunteering.

Practical Conservation Calendar

Our quarterly Practical Conservation Calendar lists all the practical conservation task days we have happening at our nature reserves and partnership sites. If you would like to attend one of these days, please contact the leader listed under each task day to find our more information about how you can get involved.

Volunteer Training Programme

We have an extensive volunteer training programme that is open to all our active and registered volunteers and voluntary trainees. The training programme reflects the diversity of volunteer roles we have at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and offers courses that will fulfil the training requirements you may need for certain roles, or to perhaps develop your skills further.  

The courses are free for our active and registered volunteers with the exception of First Aid and Outdoor Incident Management Courses, these courses are only available for volunteers or voluntary trainees that require the training for their role and where the cost of the course has been agreed with your volunteer manager.

All enquiries and booking requests should be made the Volunteering Development Team by contacting volunteering@ywt.org.uk or 01904 659570